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To the house of representatives of the United States.
I transmit to the house of representatives a report of the secretary of state, complying with their resolution of the 1st instant. March 3, 1813.
The secretary of state, to whom was referred the resolution of the house of representatives of the 1st instant, has the honour to submit to the president the enclosed papers marked A and B. All which is respectfully submitted.
JAMES MONROE. Department of State, March 3, 1813.
(A.) Extract of a letter from Joel Barlow, esq. to the Secretary of
Paris, May 2, 1812. I have the honour to enclose herewith the
of of yesterday to the duke of Bassano. The importance of the objects, and the urgency of the occasion, I hope will justify the solicitude with which I have pressed the propositions.
The result, as far as it may be known within a few days, shall be transmitted by the Wasp. The Hornet sailed from Cherbourgh the 26th of April, with orders to land a messenger in England with my despatches for Mr. Russell, but not to wait a return from London.
(Enclosed in Mr. Barlow's letter of May 2, 1812, to the Secre
tary of State.) Extract of a letter from Joel Barlow, esq. to the duke of
Paris, May 1, 1812. In the note I had the honour to address to your excellency on the 10th of November last, the spirit of the English government was so far noticed as to anticipate the fact now proved by experience, that its orders in council, violating the rights of neutrals, would not be revoked. The declaration of the prince regent of the 21st of April, has placed that fact beyond all question. In doing this he has repeated the assertion so often 'advanced by his ministers and judges, that the decrees of France of a similar character are likewise unrevoked.
You will notice that he finds a new argument for this conclusion in your excellency's late report to the emperor concerning neutral rights, in which you avoid taking notice of any repeal or modification of these decrees, or of their non-application to the United States. We know indeed that they do not apply to the United States, because we do not suffer our flag to be denationalized in the manner evidently contemplated by the emperor in the rule he meant to establish. But it would have been well if your excellency had noticed their non-application to the United States, since his majesty has uniformly done it in his decisions of prize causes since November, 1810.
It is much to be desired that the French government would now make and publish an authentic act, declaring the Berlin and Milan decrees, as relative to the United States, to have ceased in November, 1810, declaring that they have not been applied in any instance since that time, and that they shall not be so applied in future.
The case is so simple, the demand so just, and the necessity so urgent, that I cannot withhold my confidence in the prompt and complete success of my proposition.
Extract of a letter from Mr. Barlow to Mr. Monroe, dated
Paris, May 12, 1812.9 After the date of my letter, of which I have the honour to enclose you a copy, I found, from a pretty sharp conversation with the duke of Bassano, that there was a singular reluctance to answering my note of the first of May. Some traces of that reluctance you will perceive in the answer which finally came, of which a copy is here enclosed. This, though dated the 10th, did not come to me till last evening. I consider the communication to be so important in the present crisis of our affairs with England, that I despatch the Wasp immediately to carry it to Mr. Russell, with orders to return with his answer as soon as possible.
. I am confident that the president will approve the motive of my solicitude in this affair, and the earnest manner in which I pressed the minister with it as soon as my knowledge of the declaration of the prince regent enabled me to use the argument that belonged to the subject. When, in the conversation above alluded to, the duke first produced to me the decree of the 28th of April, 1811, I made no comment on the strange manner in which it had been so long concealed from me, and probably from you. I only asked him if that decree had been published. He said no, but declared it had been communicated to my predecessor here, and likewise sent to Mr. Serrurier with orders to communicate it to you. I assured him it was not among the archives of this legation; that I never before had heard of it; and since he had consented to answer my note I desired him to send me, in that official manner, a copy of that decree, and of any other documents that might prove to the incredulous of my country (not to me) that the decrees of Berlin and Milan were in good faith and unconditionally repealed with regard to the United States. He then promised me he would do it, and he has performed his promise.
I send you a copy of the April decree, as likewise of the let. ter of the grand judge and that of the minister of finances, though the two latter pieces have been before communicated to our government and published. [Translation.]
The duke of Bassano to Mr. Barlow. Sir,
Paris, May 10, 1812. In conversing with you about the note which you did me the honour to address to me on the 1st of May, I could not conceal from you my surprise at the doubt which you had expressed in that note, respecting the revocation of the decrees of Berlin and Milan. That revocation was proven by many official acts, by all my correspondence with your predecessors, and with you, by the decisions in favour of American vessels. You have done me the honour to ask a copy of the letters which the grand judge and the minister of the finances wrote on the 25th of December, 1810, to secure the first effects of that measure, and you have said, sir, that the decree of the 28th of April, 1811, which proves definitively the revocation of the decrees of Berlin and Milan, in regard to the Americans, was not known to you.
I have the honour to send you, as you have desired, a copy of these three acts: you will consider them without doubt, sir, as the plainest answer which I could give to this part of your note.
As to the two other questions to which that note relates, I will take care to lay them before the emperor. You know already, sir, the sentiments which his majesty has expressed in favour of American commerce, and the good dispositions which have induced him to appoint a plenipotentiary to treat with you on that important interest. Accept, sir, &c. (Signed)
THE DUKE OF BASSANO. Joel Barlow, esq. &c. &c.
Palace of St. Cloud, April 28, 1811. Napoleon, Einperor of the French, &c. &c. On the report of our minister of foreign relations:
Seeing by a law passed on the 2d of March, 1811, the congress of the United States has ordered the execution of the provisions of the act of non-intercourse, which prohibits the vessels and merchandise of Great Britain, her colonies and dependencies, from entering into the ports of the United States :
Considering that the said law is an act of resistance to the arbitrary pretensions consecrated by the British orders in council, and a formal refusal to adhere to a system invading the independence of neutral powers, and of their flag, we have decreed, and do decree as follows :
The decrees of Berlin and Milan are definitively, and to date. from the 1st day of November last, considered as not having existed (non avenus) in regard to American vessels. (Signed)
NAPOLEON. By the emperor. The Minister Secretary of State. (Signed)
THE COUNT DARA.
B. Extract of a letter from Mr. Barlow to the Duke of Bassano,
Paris, October 25, 1812. In consequence of the letter you did me the honour to write me on the 11th of this month, I accept your invitation, and leave Paris to-morrow for Wilna, where I hope to arrive in 15 or 18 days from this date. My secretary of legation and one servant will compose all
suite. I mention this to answer to your extreme goodness in asking the question, and your kind offer of finding me a convenient lodging. I hope the trouble you will give yourself in this will be as little as possible.
The negotiation on which you have done me the honour to invite me at Wilna is so completely prepared in all its parts between the duke of Dalberg and myself, and, as I understand, sent on to you for your approbation about the 18th of the present month, that I am persuaded, if it could have arrived before the date of your letter, the necessity of this meeting would not have existed, as I am confident that his majesty would have, found the project reasonable and acceptable in all its parts, and would have ordered that minister to conclude and sign both the treaty of commerce and the convention of indemnities. [Translation.]
The Duke of Bassano to Mr. Barlow. Sir,
Wilna, October 11, 1812. I have had the honor to make known to you how much I regretted, in the negotiation commenced between the United States and France, the delays which inevitably attend a corres
pondence carried on at so great a distance. Your government has desired to see the epoch of this arrangement draw near. His majesty is animated by the same dispositions, and willing to assure to the negotiation à result the most prompt, he has thought that it would be expedient to suppress the intermediaries and to transfer the conference to Wilna. His majesty has consequence
authorised me, sir, to treat directly with you if you will come to this town, I dare hope that, with the desire which animates us both to conciliate such important interests, we will immediately be enabled to remove all the difficulties which until now have appeared to impede the progress of the negotiation.
I have apprised the duke of Dalberg that his mission was thus terminated, and I have laid before his majesty the actual state of the negotiation, to the end that when you arrive at Wilna the different questions being already illustrated (eclaircies) either by your judicious observations or by the instructions I shall have received, we may, sir, conclude without delay an arrangement so desirable and so conformable to the mutually amicable views of our two governments. Accept, sir, &c.
(Signed) THE DUKE OF BASSANO.
Mr. Barlow to the Secretary of State. Sir,
Paris, Oct. 25, 1812. By the letters from the duke of Bassano and my answer, copies of which are herewith enclosed, you will learn that I am invited to go to Wilna, and that I have accepted the invitation. Though the proposal was totally unexpected, and on many ac-. counts disagreeable, it was impossible to refuse it without giving offence, or at least risking a postponement of a negotiation which I have reason to believe is now in a fair way to a speedy and advantageous close.
From the circumstances which have preceded and which accompany this proposition, I am induced to believe that it is made with a view of expediting the business. There may indeed be an intention of coupling it with other views not yet brought forward. If so, and they should extend to objects beyond the simplicity of our commercial interests and the indemnities which we claim, I shall not be at a loss how to answer them.
I shall have the honour to write you as soon as possible from Wilna, and shall return to Paris without any unnecessary delay. I remain, &c. (Signed)
J. BARLOW. Honourable James Monroe, &c. VOL. I.